Tirreno-Adriatico: the final four days

    Cannondale-Drapac found its mojo during the second half of Tirreno-Adriatico, rallying around Rigoberto Uran’s general classification ambitions. Climbing to fourth place on the queen stage of the Italian week-long tour catapulted Uran closer to the top of the overall. By the end of a tough week of racing, Uran had finished in eighth overall.

    “The team did work when they needed do work,” said DS Fabrizio Guidi. “They were around Rigo when they needed to be. They never made any big mistakes. The team spirit was strong and the motivation was high. From this point of view, it was satisfactory. If we keep this direction, we’ll have more success.”

    STAGE FOUR

    Rigoberto Urán climbed to fourth place up the Terminillo and jumped to 11th overall (from 34th place) following the queen stage of the Tirreno Adriatico general classification. The ride put him 1″ outside the top ten and 26″ outside the top five as stage winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) assumed the overall lead. The Colombian climber made his move in the final three kilometers of the 16-kilometer summit finish.

    Sport Director Tom Southam said it best:

    “We have a team here that could do a really good job for Rigo. He was our man today. Rigo is a rock star, ok. He’s Mick Jagger. But Mick Jagger is nothing without the rest of the Rolling Stones. The boys did a great job to put him at the bottom of the climb as fresh as he could possibly be, and he took care of the business end of the race. He was in the top four riders and proved he is amongst the best here.

    “He made the move first, before Quintana went, and [Geraint] Thomas (Sky) closed it. Straight after Quintana went twice. Rigo was a little on the back foot but he came back and finished really well. We have complete faith in him and we have had faith in him since the start of the race.”

    STAGE FIVE

    That photo is our man Mick crossing the finish line in sixth place at Tirreno Adriatico stage five. The “Muri” stage delivered the drama and intensity the profile promised with a selective group of 12 riders forming in the final. It was from this group that Rigoberto Urán made his move in the final kilometre. The move didn’t stick but the effort was undeniable. Sixth on the stage, up to seventh overall.

    Sport director Fabrizio Guidi said: “The stage suited the characteristics of Rigo, especially because it was after a super hard stage. That’s why we expected another hard race. We did it the best we could wth the team to make it happen. Rigo was in the front fighting to win the stage, and the performance of the whole team made us proud today. We were present in the front. We had the right numbers in the final. We did our best. I can’t complain. It was a good day for the team.”

    STAGE SIX

    Calm, cool and collected — and still in seventh overall. The finale of Tirreno Adriatico stage six was savage. What looked like a straightforward sprint stage was complicated by a technical finishing circuit in Civitanova Marche. With the help of his Cannondale-Drapac teammates, Rigoberto Urán remained well-positioned and near the front in the closing kilometers to finish as part of the 70-rider bunch.

    “Today was just about protecting Rigo and keeping him out of trouble,” said sport director Tom Southam. “It was a little technical on the finish circuit. You had to climb and then it dipped down, then another little climb, a descent, a hard left and a hard right and then onto a three-and-half kilometer technical straight with a tailwind with some bits of road furniture, which generally could have led to a split. And a split would be costly at this point. We wanted to be on the right side of that. We had to have Rigo in the front, and we used our guys accordingly – Sep [Vanmarcke], Dylan [Van Baarle] and Simon [Clarke in particular.”

    STAGE SEVEN

    Tirreno-Adriatico came to a close in San Benedetto del Trento on Tuesday with a 10.05 kilometer individual time trial. Seventh from last to start, Rigoberto Urán stopped the clock at 12:05. The time was good enough to secure a spot in the Tirreno top ten overall. Ninety fourth following the opening stage, Rigo ended up the week in eighth on the general classification.

    “Day by day he was better, especially climbing he was super good,” said DS Fabrizio Guidi. “Today we compare his efforts to the climbers. To Quintana he was only six seconds behind. He shown us that in a big tour, he’s ready to do a good general classification He still needs to improve some, but he’s ready. It’s really positive.”

    Ryan Mullen was top #GreenArgyle on the final day of the seven-day Italian classic. He spent nearly an hour in the hot seat before ultimately finishing in eighth place on the stage.

    “I’m pretty happy with my ride today,” Mullen said. “It was the first time I’ve backed up a decent TT performances after such a hard week This is the first WorldTour stage race I finished. I recovered throughout the week and had a decent performance today It was the best ride I could do.”

    “The team has been really good all week,” Mullen added. “I can’t thank them enough.”